Manhattan, NY Real Estate News

By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
                                                                        I woke up this morning to a beautiful September day. Not a cloud in the sky. The moon is visible. It is a little more brisk than the summer like day 5 years ago that changed all of our lives. I remember that day like it was yesterday. The night before 9/11/2001 an old friend and former colleague called to say he was going to be in New York tomorrow to promote his new book a biography of Howard Hughes. He wanted to meet for lunch but told me to watch The Today Show that he was being interviewed by Matt Lauer at 8:36 A.M. I never watch TV in the morning but ever since that day, I turn it on first thing. I had a 9:30 meeting that morning downtown at another Broker's office it was a seminar about commercial real estate....
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
My company recently expanded one of our offices and made it our corporate headquarters on Madison Avenue. Our commercial division along with executives, administrative, marketing and our east side agents are located in this beautiful office space.I recently received an email from the President of my company announcing the newly created position "Director of First Impressions" An office administrator from our downtown office was promoted to this new post.Since many of our calls from our office's if busy roll over to the new office.  The first person that people (clients other agents, investors, vendors etc.) meet when they walk in the door or call the office is The Director of First Impressions who will be trained in Customer Service."The title is meant to make people smile but also to u...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
During this past year the rental market in Manhattan has become very tight. Rents are soaring, multiple applications and even bidding wars have been going on. Many buyers gave up on buying and decided to rent instead.Flash back 3 years ago. Landlords were offering 1 -2 months free rent, paying broker fees anything to rent their units. Ads were not pulling. No one was renting everyone was buying. It was cheaper to buy than to rent.Rents are now skyrocketing. I have heard of landlords asking 20-25% increases in rent when a lease expires. Landlords used to increase 4-5% a year even in non stabilized units. Is it worth all the expenses involved in moving to another rental apartment? Will there become renter's priced out of the rental market who will now buy instead? My suggestion to renters...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
Rendering of Hudson Yards  http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hyards/hymain.shtml There is one last frontier available in Manhattan - Hudson Yards, the underutilized area bounded roughly by West 42nd Street and West 30th Street, Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River. 360 acres. The Hudson Yards is owned by the MTA - The Metropolitan Transit Authority an agency of The State of New York. The MTA has had problems with capital. http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/A pet project of former mayor Rudy Giuliani and current mayor Mike Bloomberg was to build a west side sports stadium. The MTA decided to sell the Hudson Yards to The Jets for $100 million for a Jets Stadium even though Cablevision the owner's of Madison Square Garden offered more. The stadium was Mayor Bloomberg's centerpiece for the city's bid for...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
The other day I was discussing a building's financials with a buyer. When a buyer makes an offer it is normally the procedure for a seller or seller's agent to provide the buyer or buyer's attorney with the last two years financials.Every building has an audit from an independent accounting firm every year. It is a typical balance sheet that shows the buildings assets and liabilities revenue and operating costs. It is a way to determine if the building is in good financial health. I was showing her payroll and wages paid under the operating budget. Jokingly she said: "Wow I should become a Doorman they make good money and have pretty good jobs"I agreed with her but then I said: "Come to think of it I've never seen a woman Doorman in any building in Manhattan". She said: "You know I neve...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
        In May 2003 a study was conducted by Michael H. Schill, director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University; Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, millersamuel.com a leading Manhattan appraisal company; and Ioan Voicu, a research fellow at the Furman Center. nyu.edu The study looked at Manhattan Apartment attributes and ammenities in features ranging from the age of building, fireplaces, terraces, condos vs coops, views, financial requirements, square footage, doorman etc. and gave each a premium. The study found there is a 15% premium for condos over coops. Some say there is a premium for condos because they are easier to get into. A prewar condo has a 30% premium because they are so rare. The study found old is in - the older the better...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
The flip tax is a transfer fee that many new york coops and condos impose on shareholders and owners. In the early 80's when many rental buildings converted, huge profits were being made by former renters who bought their units at inside prices and then resold them. Called "flipping" The boards decided to impose the transfer fee and call it a flip tax on sellers to disuade flipping. Due to high oil costs, insurance particularly terrorist insurance, neccessary repairs and increases in expenses many buildings need to build their reserve fund and are trying to impose flip taxes. In order for the flip tax to pass 2/3 of the shareholders have to vote in favor of it. It requires a quarum. An absent vote is a no vote. Condop buildings often have investor owners from out of town. There are seve...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
A co-op is a form of home ownership that is different than owning real property such as a condo or a house. In a coop each unit is allocated shares. The purchaser buys the shares in the housing corporation. Co-ops are corporations with a board of directors and shareholders. Coops are unique to NYC in the fact that approximately 75% of our properties for sale are co-ops. When a co-op rejects a purchaser many people are affected. Not only the buyer. The brokers do not get paid. The sellers who have a deposit on a new home might have to forfeit their deposit. And the sellers of the new home that the first seller is buying will lose their buyer. This post has been updated to reflect the current emphasis on anti-discrimination requirements Here are some tips to help pass a coop board intervi...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
50 West 86th Street Tom Cruise has been on the news and in the papers these past few days for being fired by Paramount pictures for jumping on Oprah's couch and talking about Scientology. Since this is a real estate blog I won't comment on that. However I will comment about the building that both Tom and I Lived in circa 1981. My first Manhattan apartment was a studio with a sleeping loft complete with brick wall and huge windows. It was on the parlor floor of a limestone mansion built in the early 1900's. In the photo it's the apartment with the 2 large rounded windows to the right of the front door.  The blinds I bought are still in the windows. When I moved in we didn't have a live-in super. The landlord and his wife lived in New Jersey but owned this building as a hobby/investment....
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
 THE DAKOTA 1 West 72nd Street  at Central Park West  In 1884, the New York Daily Graphic called it: "one of the most perfect apartment houses in the world" Today more than 100 years later, the Dakota still has fabulous apartments and magnificent views. Some of The Dakota's most famous former and current residents are Lauren Bacall, Judy Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Gilda Radner and Barlis Karloff. The Dakota is filled with stories about it's famous residents. The most famous is John Lennon's murder outside the Dakota in December 1980. A section of Central Park opposite the Dakota has been named strawberry fields. At the time of the murder, many Americans were already familiar with the Dakota because of the famous film, Rosemary's Baby which had been shot there 1...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
I've been reading many posts about Open Houses, I can see why they might not be effective in many markets.In Manhattan we do not have lock boxes or keys available to show a property. In Manhattan the listing agent is almost always present during a showing. An appointment has to be made with the Listing agent at least 24 hours in advance to show a property. Scheduling appointments for buyers is one of the most difficult tasks we have as buyers agents in Manhattan. When working with buyers we are at the mercy of the listing agents time. Setting up itineraries for a buyer is very difficult. Many agents do not always return phone calls or answer emails. But they all do Open Houses. Sometimes an Open House is the only opportunity I have to show that property to my buyer. Sometimes I have to ...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
In Sunday April 20, 2006 New York Times Real Estate section the feature story By Vivian S. Toy is titled                     Lets Make A Deal.  http://www.nytimes.com/pages/realestate/index.htmlIt has a picture of an apartment with a divider down the middle called asking price and a buyer and seller are playing tug -of-war across the asking price. My broker JoAnne Kennedy, cheif operating officer of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy http://www.cbhk.com/ Is quoted:"We're certainly not where we were in the irrational, exuberance days, sellers have become more realistic. and buyers are finding they have more time to select, and they can make an offer that's not asking price, and it will be considered."JoAnne  goes on to say that sellers are often happy to get any bid, but a buyer who submits a ...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
The current issue of New York Magazine has an all blue cover with a photo of the top of the twin towers at the bottom. In the middle of the page in white type it reads: WHAT IF 9/11 NEVER HAPPENED? On the top of the page in light blue it reads: FIVE YEARS LATER. In the right bottom corner it reads: An Alternative History. http://www.nymag.com/Either I'm losing my sight or something Freudian happened. When I first saw the magazine I thought it said:WHAT IF 9/11 HAPPENED AGAIN? I ignored it and looked at other mail. I was not interested in seeing Manhattan underwater, or buildings collapsing or firemen in space suits or any other horrible scenario about how vulnerable we are.  This morning while having my coffee I glanced at it again and finally comprehended that it said: WHAT IF 9/11 NEV...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
Before you come to love Manhattan, you must understand our peculiar housing market. Manhattan is a unique place in the real estate universe. Not only does it have a large rental market (75% of the available housing units vs. about 5 - 10% in other markets), but it has ownership and other important differences that are often puzzling to newcomers. Showings normally 9 - 5 p.m. (7p.m. the latest)Most co-ops have restrictions on showing times that vary widely, but must be adhered to. Some buildings do not even allow weekend showings.Sunday Open Houses are the way to goCondos and some co-ops will allow public open houses on Sunday afternoons. That means that Sundays can be a good day to see a lot of properties, If you're not with your agent and you are working with an agent let the listing a...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
I attended a presentation from brokers marketing a new condo with anticipated closings starting March 2007. They are requiring 10% deposit with signing and another 10% in 90 days. No financing contingencies.When asked why they responded "the developer felt less buyers would walk with 20% invested." The lowest priced unit is $735,000. most are in the millions. I'm thinking who's going to walk from $73,000.  Then I realized that some buyers might have to. If interest rates go up they might not be qualified for the same amount 8 months from now. A mortgage broker from Wells Fargo that was present informed us that Wells Fargo has a product for new construction for 1/4 point they lock the rate for 1 year. If the rates go down you get the lower rate.
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
If it's priced right the buyers will bid on it. I recently had a properrty on the market for 6 months.  After 2 price reductions totalling almost $100,000 of the original listing price I received multiple bids. I heard several similar stories from other agents in my office today. One had the property on the market for a year lowered the price several times and finally got multiple bids. Another agent with a property on the market for a long time lowered the price lowered again and had it staged and then received multiple bids. It seems that once the right price level is reached all of a sudden it's bid on. If it's priced low enough it is perceived as a great deal and more than one buyer want it.This pricing strategy worked the last few years when the market was very hot. I think it work...
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By Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
There have been lots of blogs and press about ACRIS Automated City Record Information System displaying coop sales records online. Everything from secret plan for the city and state to impose mortgage taxes from appraiser [MillerSamuel] to Jerry Seinfelds signature on a UCC- form. [Gawker] I've been using  ACRIS  for a couple of years for condos and townhouses. I've been using it primarily for real estate tax records. Every time I get a listing in a condo I check the real estate tax. Many sellers of condos don't know how much their real estate tax is because it's paid by their lender from their mortgage payment. I have also shown properties to buyer customers that the listing agent had wrong RET in the system and on their show sheets. I always check everything myself. There have been ti...
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